Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympia Not Quite Mayor Busted

The big story here in Olympia is the arrest of a city council member for dealing marijuana. Council member Joe Hyer is a well-liked local businessman with long time family ties to Olympia and known for his mastery of city budgets. He was re-elected overwhelmingly last November. Hyer is mayor pro-tem and was the chosen candidate to fill the vacant county treasurer's position even as he remained a council member. The county position has no doubt evaporated and continued tenure on the council will depend on the outcome of the case.

No one can quite understand how or why someone in that position would be dealing pot. I sure don't. What I know of Hyer suggests he is not dumb. If he was a pot head, he is proof that weed doesn't limit ambition or achievement. The Thurston County Drug Task Force said Hyer sold marijuana twice to undercover agents after someone tipped them off.

All this comes as Sensible Washington launches an initiative campaign to legalize marijuana possession for adults. Regardless of Hyer's circumstances the drug warriors are no doubt frightened that citizens will end Washington's participation in unproductive so-called war.


Enduring Truth

The Netherlands governing coalition has collapsed over differences about that nation's participation in the Afghan War. Opinion polls suggest that the war is deeply unpopular.

That is as it should be. War should always be deeply unpopular.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Sun Time in Olympia

Past few days have been gloriously sunny and dry. Unusual for this time of year and definitely welcome. The nice weather made for a good evening at the regular Friday peace vigil. Clear blue sky above. Light shimmering off Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains visible on the horizon. Artesian Rumble Arkestra playing up a storm behind us.

Welcome to the weekend. Forecast is sunny days ahead!


Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Velo News

On the first day of the Year of the Tiger I explored a new cycling route--the section of the Yelm-Tenino Trail between the western terminus in Tenino and its intersection with the Chehalis Western Trail. I've been eying that trail for a while now but the distance is long enough that I need to make it a one-way trip. Yesterday provided that opportunity when Maggie and I were in the southern part of the county checking out a property for sale that included an airplane hanger. It was convenient so for her to drop me off in Tenino for the ride back to Olympia.

The ride also provided a lesson in taking initiative. The weather's been wet and rainy of late. Yesterday morning was no exception although the forecast was for some afternoon clearing. As we explored the property and drove to Tenino the prospects looked very iffy. The showers seemed to be hardly clearing at all and some were downright heavy. But once we located the trailhead, the precipitation was sufficiently light and sporadic so I decided to take my chances.

It was a good move. The showers ended pretty much as I set out. The day was overcast, a bit chilly and somewhat dark with the occasional sprinkle here and there. But I never got particularly wet. Mostly I just cruised along a very nice, paved trail, well separated from the traffic on Route 507. Low clouds and mist gave everything a subdued feel. I encountered few other riders and enjoyed the solitude. The trail passes through wooded areas and one section is about 30 feet above the highway. The most prominent feature is Macintosh Lake where I saw cormorants perched on pilings drying their wings.

Just after crossing the Deschutes River, the trail meets the Chehalis Western Trail. Two miles east is the Town of Rainier. Five miles beyond is Yelm. I turned north on the Chehalis Western Trail, a section that I had not previously ridden. Three miles farther on I came to the Monarch Sculpture Garden which is my usual turnaround point when I ride south from Olympia.

The predicted afternoon clearing became somewhat evident as I rode north. The sky opened up occasionally and bright sunlight illuminated the trail and its environs immensely. Paralleling the Deschutes Rvier at one point, I watched the light reflecting off the rushing water. I don't know what constitutes flood stage on the river but the water was high and moving fast. One log jam rocked back and forth as it held its own against the water. I half expected it to burst while I watched. It did not.

In all, it was a good ride--25 miles of paved, dedicated bike trail. Just me and a few other cyclists and some pedestrians. No traffic to speak of. And, once again, I proved that despite a wet, rainy environment, I can find space to ride without getting soaked. So far I've managed to get out every weekend this year. Our warmer than usual weather has certainly helped but so has my willingness to figure the odds and take informed chances.

A lesson worth remembering in many aspects of life.

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A Moving Idea and Other Radical Acts

A few weeks ago, The Nation carried a lead editorial titled, "Move Your Money" which suggested that Americans fed up with the big banks whose reckless investments contributed so much to the financial meltdown simply move their personal deposits to community banks. Not only would this slap down the bankers who believe that our savings are theirs to play with, but it would also bring that money home to our communities where it would contribute to local economic growth.

Right now, I have savings with one of the large banks. It's a matter of inertia and business. I need the large bank for business and convenience but I don't need it for my savings. When the CDs come up for renewal, they will move to a local bank here in Olympia. It's the right move at the right time. I've been wondering what I as an individual can do to force change on a resistant economic system. One power I have is in my personal decisions; I control my investments and will no longer allow them to support brigands whose only motive is profit, profit and more profit.

Howard Zinn speaks eloquently about the power of individual action.
A box cutter can bring down a tower. A poem can build up a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution.

Not supporting irresponsible bankers is one good step in that direction. To learn more and to find safe responsible community banks in your area, visit Move Your Money.

And speaking of direct action, Bill Doolittle at Bad Attitudes has a good idea for using citizen power to counter the newly enfranchised corporate power to campaign for and against candidates.

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